Drama, Awe and Wonder: The Visual Culture of Sanctity, c. 1150-1500
Dr Mellie Naydenova-Slade
Violent murder and courtly love, boundless generosity and spiteful revenge, purity and depravity, the everyday and the supernatural: the lives of the saints have it all, and the art associated with the medieval cult of saints is highly dramatic. We will explore this visual culture by considering a range of images, objects and buildings reflecting devotion to a variety of saints. The course will largely focus on English medieval art, but also refer to relevant material from other parts of Northern Europe.
The eclectic functions of saints and their images in the lives of medieval people will be examined, as will the development of saints’ legends. We will consider whether representations of the saints reflected particular social concerns, as well as the personal preoccupations of individual patrons. Another focus will be the medieval obsession with saints’ bodies revealed in the art and architecture of pilgrimage. Finally, we will consider the entertainment value of saints’ stories by uncovering the links between visual narrative and medieval drama. Visits include the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum and St Alban’s Abbey. The course concludes with a live performance of extracts from medieval plays followed by a discussion with the actors and director.
Merchants of Luxury and Patrons of Art: Lucca at the Dawn of the Renaissance
Dr Geoffrey Nuttall
For over 200 years, merchants from the small Tuscan city of Lucca dominated the production and sale of sumptuous silks and phenomenally expensive gold and silver brocades. These clothed the palaces, churches and courts of Europe and can still be admired in innumerable paintings and manuscript illuminations, perhaps most famously in the Wilton Diptych in London’s National Gallery. Exceptionally well-informed and cosmopolitan patrons, they commissioned some of the most famous yet enigmatic masterpieces of the early Renaissance, including Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Double Portrait, Jacopo della Quercia’s Tomb of Ilaria del Carretto, and The Boucicaut Master’s Trenta Missal.
This course focuses on these and other great works of the period associated with Lucca and its merchant colonies across Europe. It explores connections between the business and art of silk manufacture and purveying, and the Lucchese’s influential role as agents of artistic and cultural exchange across Europe, notably at the courts of France, Burgundy and England. Visits will include the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and The Tower of London.
N.B. This course was previously taught under the title ‘Lucca and the Courts of Europe, 1350-1450: Merchants of Luxury and Patrons of Art’ in 2015. Dr Nuttall will also lead a Study Tour to Lucca from 11-13 May 2017.
New Course 3:
Jan van Eyck and his Times: Eyckian Painting at the Burgundian Court and in Bruges
Dr Susan Jones
This course is now FULL
This course will look at a selection of major works by Jan van Eyck and his workshop. Each day we will take a particular object as our starting point, asking what it can tell us about Van Eyck as a painter and about the period in which he lived. The course will shed light on the intellectual, artistic and spiritual life of the Burgundian court and of the town of Bruges, and will also focus on contemporary innovations in oil painting. This period has been called a ‘Northern Renaissance’, but was it really equivalent to artistic developments in Italy? In our discussion of the paintings of van Eyck and his circle, we will discuss questions of materials, techniques and methods, and explore the role of workshop assistants and the operations of the art market. For a better understanding of the paintings’ meaning and significance we will discuss themes of pilgrimage, devotion and spirituality, as well as exploring the intellectual climate and the politics of the Burgundian court. Visits will include the National Gallery, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, where we will look at a range of works from the period, including goldsmiths’ work and sculpture as well as paintings.
“The Marvel of the World”: Art and Politics in Baroque Rome
Dr Miriam Di Penta
Around 1595 two young, ambitious artists moved to Rome from their native cities of Bologna and Milan: Annibale Carracci and Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. Thanks to the patronage of cardinals, popes and secular aristocrats, these painters and their pupils would lay the foundations of a new pictorial language. Their individual and opposing classical and naturalist styles, blended with the vital Colorismo of Rubens’ altarpieces of 1608 for the Chiesa Nuova, provided the Catholic Church with a highly effective new instrument of Counter-Reformation propaganda: the glorious art of the Roman Baroque. The course will look at its development from the papacy of Paul V to the triumphs of the Barberini and Chigi pontificates and beyond, with an in-depth analysis of the works of Caravaggio and his circle, the Carraccis, Bernini, Borromini, and Poussin, among others. We will also consider the politics of vision, and the shifting relationship between art, power and tradition. We will discuss the development of art collecting, art criticism and the art market and how the revolutions in philosophy, science and poetry influenced art and society at large. Visits include the National Gallery, Apsley House, and The Courtauld Gallery’s prints and drawings room.
Please note that Dr Di Penta will also lead a Study Tour to Rome from 11 – 14 October 2017, exploring the Baroque in situ. As always, participation in the tour does not require prior attendance at the Summer School course.
Collections and Marketplaces: The Business of Art in Italy, 1500-1700
Dr Barbara Furlotti
Collecting has always represented a mark of distinction for Italian élites. From the late sixteenth century onwards, the desire to possess art works, no matter how modest in quality and price, also spread to less exalted social groups. Such increasing demand for art complicated the relationship between patrons and artists and fostered the creation of an art market in the modern sense. This course focuses on the development of a burgeoning Italian art market, and its repercussions, by analysing prominent case-studies. Isabella d’Este’s acquisition strategies will highlight the role played by astute merchants and trusted agents in the early sixteenth centuries. The cardinals Ferdinando de’ Medici and Scipione Borghese will introduce us to the rules of the Roman market for antiquities between the sixteenth and the seventeenth century, while the thorny issue of value for money will be considered in the light of Annibale Carracci’s, Guido Reni’s and Domenichino’s marketing strategies. Finally, the British King Charles I’s acquisition of the Gonzaga collection in the late 1620s will allow us to investigate the phenomenon of the sale in bulk of significant Italian collections. Visits will include The Courtauld Gallery, the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the British Museum.
Idealists, Realists and the Avant-Garde: The Battle for Nineteenth-Century French Painting
Dr Lois Oliver
In a cartoon published in 1855, Honoré Daumier imagined a battle between two rival aesthetic schools in France: ‘Idealism’ appears as an ageing neoclassical nude, wearing an antique helmet, with his palette as a shield, heroically raising his mahlstick as a spear, to defend himself against ‘Realism’, a scruffy figure in rustic clogs, brandishing a small square palette and clumsy paintbrush. The image perfectly encapsulates the artistic and political differences between these two entrenched aesthetic positions, but the real joke is that neither of these veteran combatants is as vigorous as he used to be: both would be vulnerable to a new avant-garde challenger. The French art world witnessed a series of battles as traditionalists grappled with the successive challenges presented by Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and Symbolism. This course explores the reasons behind the profound innovations in subject matter and technique that characterised the age, and the obstacles faced by avant-garde artists in getting their work exhibited and accepted. Exploring the work of Ingres, Delacroix, Delaroche, Courbet, Millet, Rousseau, Manet, Renoir, Degas, Seurat, Cézanne, Gauguin and Van Gogh, the course makes full use of the collections of The Courtauld, the National Gallery, the British Museum and the Wallace Collection.
Please note that this is a revised and extended version of Dr Oliver’s previous course ‘Paris: Art, Audiences and the Avant-Garde, c. 1863-1900’
Making it New: Modernism in the Early 20th Century
Dr Richard Cork
With seismic explosiveness, young artists across Europe changed the course of painting and sculpture soon after the new century began. A series of revolutionary movements erupted, beginning with Fauvism in France and Expressionism in Germany. The Italian Futurists were the most clamorous but the Cubists in Paris proved the most far-reaching. Then, in 1914, London was shocked by the advent of Vorticism and its rumbustious magazine BLAST. This course explores the rebellious momentum of an exciting period. However, it terminates in the tragedy of the First World War when many avant-garde artists found themselves caught up in a blood-bath. Visits include The Courtauld Gallery’s display of twentieth-century art, Tate Modern, the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art and the Imperial War Museum.
Contemporary Chinese Art: Practices and Debates from 1989 to the Present
Dr Katie Hill
This course offers a survey of contemporary Chinese art starting with the backdrop to the first major contemporary exhibition held in Beijing in 1989 ‘China/Avant-garde’. We will discuss movements of art concurrent with rapid urbanisation and economic developments in China during the 1990s and trace China’s relationship with the international art world as it emerged during a decade of globalisation. We explore the Chinese avant-garde’s quest to find a distinct artistic voice following decades of Socialist Realism. Contemporary Chinese art is characterised by a diversification of media and by the re-emergence of classical forms in the past decade. We will consider a wide range of artistic expression, from photography, installation and performance, to painting and new media. Finally, the course will cover the phenomenon of the new Chinese art world that emerged at the turn of the millennium and evolved rapidly with the rise of art districts, new museums, auction houses and galleries. Throughout, we will focus closely on works by a number of key artists such as Xu Bing and Ai Weiwei examining the development of contemporary Chinese art and its relationship to the international art world in the context of the country’s rapidly developing cultural scene.